4 Tech Trends Taking the Fitness Industry by Storm
Technology is transforming the fitness industry as we know it. For the second year in a row, wearable tech has been named as the top fitness trend for 2017, with sales predicted to reach $34B by 2020, according to CCS Insights. Yet, technology’s impact on the industry goes way beyond just wearables. Via the following trends, technology has made fitness more affordable, given consumers, gyms and businesses access to invaluable data, and revolutionized the way people work out.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the wearables market in MENA grew 66% year on year in Q2 2016 with fitness trackers making up most of the market’s volume. Wrist-based fitness trackers which have been quite popular for the past few years continue to dominate, yet while there are numerous vendors in the market; there is little differentiation between the products other than price.
To boost the appeal of wearables to a wider audience, vendors are working on the launch of new products such as trackers with sensors incorporated within clothing, eyewear, footwear, or even on the skin. One such example is Instabeat, an all-in-one heart rate monitor for swimmers, developed out of the Middle East that attaches to swimming goggles and provides real-time feedback. Fitbit, an activity trackers company based in the US, is also on the quest to make their trackers invisible, incorporating sensors into a variety of accessories that look more like jewelry than trackers.
Big (Fitness) Data
Through integrated devices, wearables and a multitude of fitness and workout applications, users can track and interact with their personal health and fitness data in real-time. Moreover, health specialists, health clubs and coaches can make use of the data collected to remotely manage and monitor patients’ health and fitness, monitor client activity outside of the gym, personalize classes, mentor athletes and analyze their daily activities.
Last year, the University of Michigan football program signed a new apparel contract with Nike, giving Nike the permission to collect personal data from athletes through the provided smart attire that has the capacity to track physical properties like heart rate and blood pressure as well as speed, distance, and other metrics. With several big data platforms and data processing techniques now available, the data transmitted from wearables is set to not only revolutionize sports and fitness, but nursing, disease assessment and lifestyle as well.
Across industries, consumers are demanding more personalized experiences and the fitness space is no different. Thanks to data gathered from wearables and fitness applications, advanced levels of tech-based personalization are now available and influencing the way people exercise. Today, mobile fitness applications allow users to fully personalize their workout experience, serving as virtual trainers, real-time exercise planners, and workout buddies.
Even the design of gym equipment has been influenced by the trend, with customer demand driving equipment companies to integrate smart features into their equipment. For example, Preva is personalized fitness software for cardio equipment (and mobiles), by fitness equipment manufacturer Precor, that allows users to set weekly goals, track their progress, earn fun badges, save their favorite workouts and access the internet.
While working out in the comfort of one’s home is not a new concept, the trend has gone from DVD workouts to streamed workouts to most recently live-streamed workouts, following the rise of live-streaming on social media. Live-streaming fitness platforms are among the newest developments in fitness technology and are revolutionizing the way people exercise, allowing them to not only partake in a variety of live workouts at their leisure without physically being in a studio, but also at a fraction of the price.
Live Streaming Fitness is one example of an online fitness company with such a platform. The company live-streams fitness content to devices worldwide and offers a variety of radical fitness classes that people can follow according to a schedule or tune into on-demand. The live classes even allow participants to interact with the certified instructors before and after classes, making the experts more accessible to everyday consumers.